The web page of my article in the AMS editorial system for some three months says "Article status: Reviewing" and in the next line "Your paper is being handled by an editor". I find this confusing as the "reviewing" status appears to suggest that the article is with the referee(s) rather than with the editor but this in turn seems to contradict the line "Your paper is being handled by an editor".

Could someone with enough experience with AMS journals please explain how should one interpret the combination of "Article status: Reviewing" and the line "Your paper is being handled by an editor" at the article page?

More broadly, which are the possible article statuses in the AMS editorial system?

Many thanks in advance.

  • 2
    I don't see the contradiction. An editor is looking over it, and is presumably waiting to hear back from referees.
    – vonbrand
    Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 1:30
  • @vonbrand: Thanks. However, in my experience so far I have never seen a similar behavior in other editorial systems: they tend to indicate explicitly that the paper is "with referee(s)" or "under review" rather than "being handled by an editor", that's why I asked this question in the first place. Did you also experience this particular combination ("Article status: Reviewing" and "Your paper is being handled by an editor") with this particular editorial system? Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 2:13
  • 1
    Did you ask them? Often there is administrative staff associated with the journal which can be asked without bothering the editor.
    – OBu
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 14:45
  • 1
    Sounds like you are not through the AMS wait time of 4-8 months ,according to AMS Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


You should note that the word "editor" is used in many ways for quite different things. Most people understand it to mean "someone who makes changes/edits to the text". But that isn't how it is necessarily used. While the publishing industry does, in fact, employ people who do that, working with an author to improve the text, it usually means someone with some management responsibility.

In the case of your paper, I suspect that a "managing editor" (a manager) has assigned your paper to a lower level "subject editor" (or some similar term) whose main responsibility is to track the progress of the paper through the system. He or she will find reviewers, track their progress, and collect reviews. When all reviews are in, that "editor" will make a recommendation to some higher level "editor" about whether to accept or not. If the overall decision is to accept, then your subject editor may assign someone to work with the author on improving the text - a traditional editor.

I used the term "subject editor", not because it is a term of use, but because it describes someone who actually knows a bit about the subject of the paper and which reviewers would be good for getting advice. This is most likely the "editor" that the system is referring to. It means, roughly, "we are handling it and progress is being made".

See the Scholarly Books... section of this wikipedia article for the typical usages. "Project editor" = "subject editor".


An associate editor is handling your paper. Part of how the editor handles it is to solicit reports from referees. While the referees review the paper, it is still considered as being handled by the editor. Indeed, the editor handles it until either it is rejected or it is accepted and handed over to the staff who handle final proofing and typesetting.

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